We welcomed the opportunity to design this transformative space. The residents of Southeast Raleigh shared their desires — for early childhood learning spaces, healthy-living options, organized sports activities, technology access, and pedestrian-friendly connections.
The finished facility balances all of the amenities of a regional YMCA: full-size gymnasium, wellness center, two aerobics group fitness rooms, an indoor track, locker rooms, an outdoor aquatics center, and an athletics field with a shelter structure — and a 503-student elementary school with 32 classroom spaces for grades PK-5, a media center, multiple learning commons, a commercial kitchen, administrative student support spaces, and outdoor play areas. Shared spaces, like the gym, cafeteria, and community kitchen, are centrally situated for optimal use.
The YMCA and elementary school each had their own unique programming and security requirements. Our design approach creates access without sacrificing security. For example, the front façade is colorful, dynamic, and inviting. Upon arrival, visitors continue through an outdoor courtyard to the actual main entrance on the protected interior of the site.
Today, natural light fills classrooms and activity abounds. Students are learning to swim in the YMCA pool. Neighbors tend and harvest the community gardens. And pre-K prepares the youngest children for school. Pride radiates from every corner, and the site fulfills its promise to the community.